That’s me up at the podium the other night at the Montecito Country Club. With the sun setting behind me and the Pacific Ocean in the background, I took to the microphone as the keynote speaker at Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care of Santa Barbara’s annual Chairman’s Council, an event during which VNHC pays tribute to its 100 most generous donors, each of whom was given a copy of my book as a token of appreciation.
It was an honor to be there, on the eve of YOU’D BETTER NOT DIE’s publication, to talk about caregiving and my own personal experiences as a caregiver. As I said in my speech, what are hospice nurses and staffers if not the ultimate caregivers? They care for us and our loved ones with such compassion and expertise, and they do it day after day, year after year. Where would we be without them?
And then there were the donors – men and women of great achievement in their respective arenas. It’s because of their philanthropy that worthy organizations like VNHC can thrive and the rest of us can lead better, healthier, more enriched lives.
So I shared a few anecdotes about being married to Michael (he’s sitting right to my left), some funny, some not so much. And I offered some of my personal tricks of the trade for being a good caregiver – tricks like “Box the Doc” (literally trapping a doctor in a room if he/she tries to flee before answering your questions) and “Nagging Wives Save Lives” (why men should never go to a doctor or hospital without a woman along).
You never know how a subject like caregiving will go over with a crowd and one of the guests admitted that he expected the evening to be depressing. And then he said, “But it was anything but depressing. I really enjoyed it.” But the best compliment I got was from a woman who stood up in front of everybody and declared, “I can’t wait to read this book!” Music to every author’s ears.